‘American Idol 21’ episode 5 recap: Who got golden tickets from Luke, Lionel and Katy? [UPDATING LIVE BLOG]

American Idol,” the iconic series that revolutionized the television landscape by pioneering the music competition genre, is back for another season on ABC. Helping determine who America will ultimately vote for to become the next singing sensation are music industry forces and superstar judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie. Emmy Award winner Ryan Seacrest hosts the reality TV competition series for the show’s sixth season on ABC and 21st overall.

Tonight the fifth batch of auditions from New Orleans, Las Vegas and Nashville will be shown. Aspiring pop stars sing their hearts out in hopes of earning a golden ticket to Hollywood, and if they really stand out, a platinum ticket, which allows them to skip the first round of competition during Hollywood Week. Read our full recap of Season 21 Episode 5, airing March 19, below.

SEE Everything to know about ‘American Idol’ Season 21: Premiere date, judges and host

8:00 p.m.Previously on “American Idol”! The fourth batch of auditions took place, with seven contestants earning golden tickets to Hollywood. Who will the judges discover tonight?

8:10 p.m. — Tonight’s first contestant is Mariah Faith, a 21-year old hairstylist from Conway, South Carolina. She describes her stepfather as an inspiration that changed her life and supported her big dreams. He passed away from a heart attack in 2019 and now she continues on, hoping to make him proud. She sings “Whenever You Come Around” by Vince Gill for her audition. Katy stops her and says, “You’re playing it safe!” Next the judge asks her to sing “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. This gives the judges what they want and Luke says he had chills for the whole performance. Lionel says her “potential could take her all the way.” Katy loves the “natural cry” in her voice and calls Mariah “a star.” She’s heading to Hollywood! On top of that, they tell Mariah they want her to open up for last year’s runner-up and winner, HunterGirl and Noah Thompson, in Nashville the next night. No pressure!

8:25 p.m. — Following a commercial break we see Mariah’s big moment opening for HunterGirl and Noah. Next, the auditions continue with Nailyah Serenity, a 22-year old retail advisor from Charlotte, North Carolina. She credits her musical style and fashion sense to her mother, who stays by her side through each step of her journey. Nailyah is singing “My Man” by Barbra Streisand for her audition, which starts off a little jazzy and ends with her belting out a final big note. The judges give her a standing ovation while Luke yells out, “Perfect!” Lionel compares her to Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. Katy thinks it was an “incredible song choice” and “surprising.” Nailyah is heading to Hollywood!

8:33 p.m. — Next up is Kayleigh Clark, a 17-year old from Sumrall, Mississippi. She’s a farm girl who loves pink clothes and glitter. She sings “The Dance” by Garth Brooks for her audition, thrilling Luke, but Katy looks bored. “I need a bit more,” the judge says. Next she sings “I Surrender” by Hillsong Worship to show off more range. Katy says Kayleigh’s voice just doesn’t fill the room the way it needs to, but the judges are willing to coach her. They send the country girl to Hollywood.

8:47 p.m. — The next audition we see is Tori Green, a 20-year old waitress from Corona, California singing “Cry Pretty” by Carrie Underwood. Luke calls it “a little stiff,” but Katy says, “You have all of the ingredients.” Lionel agrees with Katy and sends Tori to Hollywood. Next we see a montage of multiple contestants Luke says “No” to, which frustrates Katy to the point she says, “You are fired!” Perhaps they can agree on PJAE, a 23-year old branding designer from Lawton, Oklahoma who shares his weight loss journey with the judges. He was bullied a lot in high school and buried his emotions with food, weighing in at 400 pounds by the time he graduated. Since then he’s dropped 150 pounds and he’s auditioning with “Mirror” by Madison Ryann Ward. He gets a standing ovation and Lionel says, “The kid can sing.” Luke says, “You just slayed all of that.” Katy felt “a wave of chills” and he’s got “Top 24” potential. PJAE is off to Hollywood!

9:00 p.m.Warren Peay is a 23-year old appliance repair technician and worship leader from Bamberg, South Carolina. Today he’s auditioning with “To the Table” by Zach Williams, playing guitar as his voice cuts through the room. Luke calls it “bad ass” and Katy says Warren is a “Christian Chris Stapleton.” Lionel thinks Warren will be Top 10. It’s an enthusiastic “YES!” for Warren.

9:10 p.m.Carina Deangelos, a 25-year old meatball connoisseur from Kailua, Hawaii and Johnny Knox, a 26-year old medical software salesman and sourdough bread baker from Huntsville, Alabama, aren’t the best auditions we’ve seen, but both feed their way into the judges’ hearts. Hoping the trend continues is a 16-year old snow cone maker named Paige Anne from Idaho Falls, Idaho. She sings “What About Us” by Pink for her audition, impressing the judges after beginning with a touch of nerves. The judges give her a tentative “yes,” but see potential.

9:25 p.m. — After a trio of failed auditions, Ophrah Kablan brings some energy to the room with her audition of “Baby, I Love You” by Aretha Franklin. The 20-year old nail technician from Clio, South Carolina gave the judges the gospel spirit and they were overjoyed to give this young woman a golden ticket to Hollywood.

9:35 p.m.Kamron Lawson is a 21-year old cashier from Beckley, West Virginia. He loves to sing at work while ringing people up. For his audition, Kamron is singing “Take on Me” by a-ha. He’s a little tentative, vocally, but there’s something quite unique about his delivery. Katy is mesmerized, but tells Kamron he doesn’t know how to use his own instrument. The judges ask him to sing Lionel’s classic “Truly” instead, so Kamron shakes off his nerves and begins again…but then stops, saying, “I’m sorry, I choked.” After assuring him he’ll be just fine, the judges sit back and ask Kamron to continue. After he completes the second song, Lionel tells Kamron he needs to study his vocal delivery “just a little more.” Luke says he doesn’t have enough confidence. Katy says something about Kamron is “sparkling at me” and she wants to fight for this kid to stay. Luke and Lionel are convinced and Kamron gets three “Yes” votes to Hollywood!

9:45 p.m.Owen Eckhardt is a 19-year old veterinary student from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Although he’s currently in school, he dreams of being a musician and walks in with a guitar in his arms and a harmonica strapped to his face. Using both to accompany himself, Owen sings “Something in the Orange” by Zach Bryan. Katy compares him to Elvis Presley. Luke says, “You’re doing a lot of things wrong, but you have a cool voice.” They’re going to send Owen to Hollywood.

10:00 p.m. — Tonight’s final contestant is Fire, a 22-year old from Lawton, Oklahoma. Fire became a single mother at the age of 18 and hopes to give her four-year old daughter the life she hasn’t had. Fire works as an exotic dancer now, and as Luke points out, it worked out for Cardi B, so there’s no judgment here! Fire is an American Indian who grew up in state custody because her mother was addicted to drugs. Now she’s going after her dreams to make a better life for herself and her daughter. Fire is singing “Talking to the Moon” by Bruno Mars for her audition. She’s a bit nervous and Katy pushes Fire to sing in full voice. Luke says, “I wanted your voice to be more, but vocally it wasn’t as good as I was hoping.” Katy says there wasn’t enough “fire.” Luke and Lionel both say “no” and Katy assures Fire, “It’s gonna be okay.” When Fire’s daughter grabs a golden ticket and brings it over to her mom, and then is told to “put it back,” Katy just can’t take it. She walks up to Fire and tells her there will be more auditions in Nashville in a month. She says, “That’s where you’re gonna show us the fire.” Fire’s story on “American Idol” will be continued…but that’s a wrap for tonight.

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